Need to ask a favor. Please pray to whomever you pray to, for this GREAT KID, Kyle (and his sis Katie, Mom & Dad) – new “instant” friends that we met on our recent, spring break cruise. Now, let me back up a bit. Neither Gary or myself had ever been on a cruise. This past Spring Break was our second attempt at a cruise and the stars aligned perfectly. I did my research on where to go, what do, when to do it, and with whom to do it with. Somehow, I missed making dinner plans and we were assigned the EARLY seating. After ONE NIGHT of early dinner, I knew that early dinner time, was NOT for my family. Geez, we were still at the pool or beach at 5pm. With just a little prodding, I convinced the maitre d’ to permanently move us to ANY TABLE on ANY FLOOR for the last dinner seating. Second night, first full day on the boat, we were looking forward to where they reassigned us. First Floor. Back of the dining room, port side. With the ship staff leading the way, we hiked to the back of this huge room, and there sitting was an unsuspecting family, discussing how they ran off the previous night’s dinner guests with a beautiful Norwegian girl, our server. We “plopped” down, in ONLY the way my family can do, and started with introductions. Mom and Dad were sort of quiet and maybe a bit overwhelmed with the group that just landed at their dinner table, but the kids, Kyle & Katie – all smiles. INSTANT conversations and laughter began, and it was an instant “match made at dinner.”
We, the parents, didn’t even really get to chat the first night because the kids ran the conversation, and the table. A lot of the time, we were all in hysterics because of something Grant or Kyle said, because “they played” at the same level. Kids are 20, 18, 16, 14, 13 with Grant being the youngest. What great kids we thought. Good manners. Well spoken. Athletes & dancers. The Andersons were big readers, and I thought UH OH, because while my family reads a ton, we didn’t even take BOOKS on the cruise. Ok – Gary and I did. After the first dinner, I felt bad because my kids all had big plans. Two big kids were off to some dance thing, and Grant had a scavenger hunt to do organized by the Teen Club. We all said our goodnights, see you tomorrow’s and moved on. Gary and I had a discussion about how we thought knew Kip & Kyle, but we just couldn’t figure it out and clearly they didn’t know us, so who cares, right? Everyone got along, don’t rock the boat.
The next night was FORMAL night and no one, including me was excited about getting dressed up. We all got dressed after a GREAT day in Honduras zip-lining. Time for dinner and maybe a show afterwards, we though. More laughter at the dinner table, and more fun conversations outside of “cruise material”, and they kids were having fun and eating way too much “cheesy” bread. Getting to know each other was fun to watch – when do you REALLY get the chance to watch your kids fend for themselves and interact at that level with TOTAL STRANGERS. Both sets of parents were just soaking up every minute and letting the kids just drive the chatter. This night, I suggested Katie go to the Teen Club with Grant as they were very close in age, and seemed to be getting along. Kyle piped in and asked what the age was and we figured out they could all go together. Off went the big kids, and the “middle” kids (no little) cruised off to the Club. As parent, we just sat there with “what do we do now” looks on our faces, and we decided to go to a little bar and have a glass of wine. Chatting, discussing sports, school, college, a stint in the casino and then we dispersed and went our own ways. Us to a show. Anderson off to just chill.
Long day in Belize and cave-tubing, we all got dressed again – at this point I was thinking “eat, explore, eat, sit by pool or beach, get dressed, eat again.” I’m not good with monotony – everyone knows this. Back to dinner we go, and again fun, but this time I picked up on a few things about Kyle. He coughed pretty hard, and dismissed himself from the table. He returned after a few, and mom looked stressed. He shared about not being able to run much anymore and how he had to quit basketball, but then they were back to their usual AWFUL banter on “how did the chicken cross the road” and Grant sharing his knowledge of music while being thoroughly engaged in the pianist who was playing a little Elton John. Conversations were more divided this night, with the parents sitting on one side and the kids on the other of this large round table. Kyle began talking about Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks) and this “great trip” they took to Seattle. And I was on to him. We went back to the room, and I searched Kyle Anderson/Marshawn Lynch and there it was…in 2013, a Make a Wish Trip.
Kip, I think picked up on a few of my questions the night before, but nothing was too in depth was shared. But the next night….the bomb was dropped. He simply leaned over and mentioned that Kyle had had cancer and I put the rest together, all the time wondering if this was a special trip of sorts. I began watching pretty closely, there was NOTHING slowing Kyle down, except for possible a bum leg that caused him to quit basketball and take up golf. Such an upbeat kid, same with the family. Not beat down by the cards that he’d been dealt. Once my kids were clued in, I think Kyle knew, and they all chatted openly about it……..and then the all went and did their thing. Kyle invited us to do a Make a Wish walk – Royal Caribbean’s Charity of Choice – and of course we did. We bought shirts and jumped right in. What a motley crew we were, as we all walked together with the moms and dads talking, the girls talking, and the boys walking while discussing NOT ONE OF THEM could walk in a straight line. GOOD FUN. For a great cause. So normal……
Remember when you were young, and you had to “snail mail” a friend you met on a trip – and that that only last a few letters? NOT TRUE ANYMORE with Social Media Marketing & Website Development Company. The kids have all stayed in touch through texting and Instagram. The parents have done a TERRIBLE job of staying in touch – until last night. Kyle texted Chase, and basically said, “hey – wanted you to know that I’m having surgery on a big mass they found on my lung. I’ve been coughing up a lot of blood.” Chase came bounding down the stairs, and totally butted into a conversation between Gary, Alex & myself about prom activities(the night before). He shared the news and all was quiet. We all went to bed in very solemn moods”in our heads.”
Today – I dug out Kip & Deb’s business card, on which we shared contact info…you know, for hunting, and JUST IN CASE Texas A&M University makes it to Omaha, and I reached out to Kip and Deb. I can’t even fathom what they are all going thorough, but they are such a neat family, that I just know they’ll get through this. As will Kyle – he’s too cool of a kid not to. Mom promised to keep us posted, and shared that their hamster had babies…..funny story, for another time.
Kyle is undergoing major surgery to remove this awful, mean, 6mm mass on his lung. As a 16 yr old, positive, strong, kid, just a cool kid…..he and his family have touched our lives, providing a “different” perspective in such a short time. Hug your babies. Hug your parent. Let everyone that’s important to you, know it!
Pray. Pray for Kyle to continuing cruising through life, pray for the doctors/nurses to cruise through this surgery tomorrow, and for his family and friends…may they keep on cruisin’ and being the rock he needs right about now! So keep our FAMIGOS (Family Friends) in your thoughts and prayers. They need it. As do way too many people. Cancer is ugly. If you get the chance to participate in a fundraiser, do it. All #LivesMatter.
Here’s the link to Kyle’s Make a Wish Trip on ESPN to meet Marshwan Lynch and the Seattle Seahawks, his favorite team. Just watch the kid beam……..
CaringBridge.org Site > Kyle Anderson
Be good and make it a good one!